The Hyperion label's complete cycle of Brahms songs has a consistent accompanist, Graham Johnson (who also writes the booklet notes), but new singers for each volume. The star here is the young soprano, Harriet Burns. The series can double as a look at some rising singers; Burns has a voice of delicate clarity, and this, her debut album, makes you want to hear more. An added advantage is that the right singer can be matched to the right program, and so it is here. The album concludes with seven selections from Brahms' 49 Deutsche Volkslieder, WoO 33 (some are duets), but, as Johnson points out, the influence of folk music is all over Brahms' lied repertory. It's especially audible in these works, many of which are short and express emotion, often romantic regret, in concise, distinct melodies. As with other albums in the series, various periods in Brahms' career are represented. Sample Die Trauernde (The Mourning Woman), from the Sechs Gesänge, Op. 7, to hear Burns' approach. She is quietly sad rather than dramatic, and some might wish for a more muscular approach. However, you may just as well be convinced by Burns, who has thought these songs through. Johnson notes that Brahms envisioned intimate household performances of his songs, a vision not honored by Hyperion engineers with their church acoustic here. In Burns though, the label has a new star.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Sechs Gesänge Op. 7|
|49 Deutsche Volkslieder WoO 33|